Our fascination with cool offices continues. This time, we are attracted to a Victorian building in Dublin.
This past June, after only six months of elaborate reconstruction and renovation, global insurance firm XL Group plc moved into one of the most prestigious addresses in Dublin, Ireland.
The former private club building at Number 8 St. Stephen’s Green is a protected structure, which made the job of RKD Architects that much more challenging.
RKD’s not-so-easy task was to respect the original building and its later reiterations, while making sure XL Group’s staff and management had all the tools and comforts of a modern office.
The building dates back to 1792 when it was constructed as an imposing, five-bay, four-storeys- over-basement residence for Lord Mountgarrat. From 1847 to 2003, it was owned by the Hibernian United Services Club and operated as a private club.
After the 6.5 million Euro (about $8.2 mil. US) renovation, the grand scale, elegance and drama of a private gentlemen’s club are still intact, and the unseemly practicalities of air conditioning, IT and plumbing are discreetly and stylishly hidden behind cabinetry and other structures.
Reinforcing and restoring the best parts of the building has left, for example, the grand Portland-stone staircase as the central eye-catcher at the entrance, and given the staff and clients an impressive environment that demands attention.
We love the ceilings, the exposed brick, and the mirrors and subtle insertions of colour in the modern offices.
In even the most updated of the spaces, there is some aspect that reminds of the past and shows off the peculiarities of the grand, old building. - Tuija Seipell.
With the spring comes our need to refresh not just our wardrobes and homes but our accessories, too. An easy way to “spring-up” your look is to change to a chic, light-weight linen tote. We think we’ve found the perfect one that signals summer and beach and antiquing and shopping for veggies in the open-air market, yet looks stylish enough for office.
These beautiful totes are made from high-quality linen that has been dyed using a special colour-gradient technique and mineral pigments to achieve the stylish, sun-bleached, well-loved look.
The bags are also linen-lined, and the lean-yet-sturdy handles are made of natural leather, as is the removable, zippered purse.
Perfect for travel, shopping, work and beach, these light-weight bags will not only freshen-up your look, they will replace all other totes in your closet.
Be the first to get hold of these bags in Australia and New Zealand. Casual never looked this chic before.
If only we had a spare historic Barchessa in Italy and an extra million lying about, we, too, would build an office and showroom, just like fashion house Rubens Luciano’s in Villa Gritti, Stra, near Venice.
We’ve covered many a gorgeous office over the years in our quest for the world’s coolest offices, and although many of them a grand in scale and lavish in budget, each one has ideas just waiting for any of us to emulate in our own, perhaps more modest, surroundings.
In the case of the Rubens Luciano office architect Simone Micheli mastered several copy-worthy feats: The use of natural light and glass to create the feeling of openness; the combination of old and new in a way that is not pretentious; and the exquisite attention to detail.
Several of Micheli’s other hallmarks are also visible in this project: smooth, flowing lines; shiny, seamless surfaces; rounded edges; and organic-looking, bulbous shapes. We also love the meticulous detailing and the minimalist, clean overall look.
The four-year-long renovation collaboration between Simone Micheli and his friends, fashion-house founders Rubens and Luciano, was unveiled at a great party on September 1, a date that also marked the 49th birthday of the architect. - Tuija Seipell.
Finally, an ideal case for your new iPhone 5. Not just stylish, but cool and practical as well! These cases are meticulously finished and made of durable leather look-alike material in crisp, solid colours.
The unbeatable practicality comes from the solid clip that locks the phone onto the case safely, the removable strap that keeps your hands free when not using the phone yet assures the phone is immediately handy at all times, the card slots for credit or hotel key cards, and the best part: you can take pictures and talk on the phone while the case is closed!
Just this case, your credit cards and you are ready for shopping and sight-seeing, theatre or movies.
The passport, credit-card, boarding pass and pen case in the same materials and styles is the perfect, cool accompaniment of the iPhone case. In fact, this will be your favourite globetrotting set from here on!
Happy travels from TCH! Buy here
The work of Paris-based Matali Crasset always makes us smile. Her ability to take something basic and make it appear fun and fresh is unparalleled. More remarkable is her ability to do this while avoiding the gummy-coloured slide that so easily leads to overly cute, fake and just plain childish.
Including just enough colour to pop, adding just enough quirky shapes to make a point, and leaving everything else out, makes this little university grocery shop a delight.
Mini M grocery is a neighborhood grocery store at the Toulouse University where the student services organization is working to improving the options and accessibility of various food service alternatives from eat-in and take-out to grocery stores.
This colourful market is designed to stand out from the concrete buildings that surround it. Its overall feel is positive and fun; it is a market-stall-like casual shop, clearly different from the typical, boring convenience stores and corner stores elsewhere in the city.
With our fascination with both minimalism and colour, we’ve kept an eye on Emmanuelle Moureaux, the French-born and Tokyo-based architect famous for her use of candy-hued colours in many of her projects.
Since 2003, she’s run her own Architecture and design firm in Tokyo.
Her solo exhibition, “100 Colours” is currently on at the Shinjuku Mitsui Bldg., 55 Square, Tokyo, as part of the Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013.
For many years, Moreaux has explored the use of colour and the use of the traditional Japanese paper screens as dividers. Many of her projects in retail, hospitality and public spaces express some combination of the two, using colourful screens as dividers and using colour as a space maker. - Tuija Seipell.
See also The Power of Colour
Filmed at sunrise on the 57th floor of 4WTC in lower Manhattan, this short film captures an extraordinary and moving performance of Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a tribute to the future of the city that New York City Ballet calls home. Beautifully shot.
Spiegel Im Spiegel by Arvo Part
After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon
Ask la Cour
Directed by Davi Russo
Romita Comedor is a restaurant that is less than two years old yet it has the ambience of a well-loved, casual tradition.
The interior touches - the use of wood and tile, the wood furnishings, the many plants and various surface treatments - all seem to belong here, and they seem to have belonged for a long time. Nice vintage-chic patina that also looks fresh and modern – not easy to achieve.
The dining room is located in Mexico City, in the heart of Colonia Roma, at Avenida Álvaro Obregón 49.
The building dates back to early 1900s and its style was inspired by grand railway stations. It is also protected by the INBA (Instituta Nacional de Bellas Artes).
The massive windows, glass ceiling and a retractable awning all take full advantage of the station-style architecture, and let the light in for the benefit of the many plants.
The building’s current owner, Rodrig Espinoza, and his two partners, Marcela Lugo and Arturo, designed the restaurant with the idea in mind that it would become a gathering place that would attract not just the locals but visitors as well.
Romita Comedor is known for authentic Mexican cuisine, great cocktails at the two bars, and live entertainment by well-known DJs. The building also houses a design shop and a hair salon. - Tuija Seipell
As the ice cream and cupcake shop genre has become increasingly pink and cute, to the point of icky and utterly boring, we were delighted to run across Once Upon A Cream.
It is an ice cream shop in the beach resort town of Hua Hin, about 200 km south of Bangkok, Thailand. The refreshing shop was designed by Bangkok’s MADA Design Factory.
The design team was led by co-founder and creative director Nisachol Loetritsirikul. She managed to avoid the cute overload and instead came up with a crisp balance of whimsy and old-word dairy.
A few little nods to Willy Wonka are there – the pieces of machinery and copper fixtures, the pepperminty red-and-white round tables, the chewing-gum blue seating, the blue sky and fluffy clouds in the ceiling. But they are counterbalanced by the old-dairy accents: The white tiles, the clean surfaces, the wooden boxes.
The wood boards, rattan chairs and again the blue sky - references to the resort town location – round out the design concept. - Tuija Seipell.
Francoise Nielly's massive, colourful portraits are delicious to look at. Even more wonderful – and particularly infuriating to those of us who have timidly dabbled in painting – is to watch her create them. She, in her confident, strong hand, wields her painting knife shaped like a miniature garden trowel, and makes painting look easy like cake frosting.
She paints her vivid, passionate canvases — some as large as 78 x 25 inches (195 x 62 centimeters) -- from black-and-white photos, further proof of her unfailing ability to interpret light, shadow, hue and tone by applying brilliant colors and daring strokes.
Born in Marseille, brought up near Cannes and Saint-Tropez, and now living in Paris, Nielly is at home among bold contrast and dazzling light. To add to her likeability, here is the list of her loves: Life, wide open spaces, sushi, blue lagoons, the Internet, humor, books, Paris, New York and Vancouver.
Three of her prints are available exclusively through TCH online store - 1000mm x 1000ml metallic print on acrylic with free delivery in Australia/NZ.
We'll be introducing a lot more artwork to purchase in the coming months.